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Killpack DUI dashcam video released


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah judge has ruled the Utah Department of Public Safety must release a DUI report and dashcam video from the drunk driving arrest of former top state lawmaker Sheldon Killpack.

That agency did not appeal and released the three-hour videotape of the January arrest shortly after the ruling.

Former Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack
Former Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack

Tape shows Killpack asking to see videoAt the start of the tape, you can see the truck driven by the former senator. The Utah Highway Patrol trooper describes the vehicle moving from side to side, though you don't see it on the video.

Then you see the trooper question Killpack, do a field sobriety test, then arrest him as Killpack repeatedly asks to see the dashcam video himself.

"Now talking with you I can smell the alcohol. How much alcohol have you had tonight?" the trooper said.

"I haven't," Killpack responds.

"You haven't had any alcohol? Who has been drinking, then? So if I get you out, I'm not going to find any alcohol in your system?" the trooper asks.

"No," Killpack answered.

The trooper performs a sobriety tests, after which he begins placing handcuffs on Killpack. He repeatedly asks the former senator not to move, saying, "If you do you will be tased with a Taser," as Killpack tries to turn and face the trooper.

"I want to see the video," Killpack asks. "Can I see the video, please?"

"At this time you are under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol," the trooper said.

Again, Killpack asks to see the dashcam video.

"Like I mentioned before, I cannot show you the video because I am recording this. Once the recording is completed, then you can see the video," the trooper says.

Later, Killpack refuses a breathalyzer test and is taken to jail and booked.

Thursday, Killpack's attorney declined comment other than to say the video speaks for itself.

Court battle for records began with requests from media

DPS has denied media requests for these records since Killpack's request in January.

Several media organizations went to court to get the video, but to this point had been denied access by DPS. DPS officials claimed the release of the records could prevent Killpack from receiving a fair trial.

Despite a February ruling from the State Records Committee to release the video, the department chose instead to fight the matter in court.

Thursday, Judge Denise Lindberg ruled the report and video regarding the arrest of the former Senate Majority Leader are public records. She ruled the agency must either release those government records immediately or appeal the ruling.

Attorney for Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune Jeff Hunt said, "We're very pleased with the decision. We think the judge correctly determined that the dashcam video and the DUI report form a public record under GRAMA, and they should have been released when they were initially asked for."

"It seems to me the Department of Public Safety could have decided early on," said Bob Anderson, attorney for KTVX and reporter Chris Vanocur. "They certainly knew what the State Records Committee thought and the way they ruled, and I think that should have been the end of it. And they should have produced it at that time."

Killpack was arrested in January on charges of driving under the influence. He resigned his position in the Legislature soon after.

One of the attorneys for the news organizations says his firm intends to sue DPS to cover its legal fees, which he estimates to be more than $50,000.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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John Daley

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